What is the local currency?
The Japanese yen.
What denominations does it come in?
Coins: 1, 5, 10, 50, 100, and 500 yen. Bills: 1,000, 2,000, 5,000, and 10,000 yen (Note: 2,000 yen note is not very common)
What is the best way to exchange currency?
Go to official windows at the airport and banks. Hotels tend to charge a higher fee.
What are commonly-used forms of payment for everyday purchases (such as groceries)?
Consider Japan as primarily a cash society. Automatic bank transfers for regular bills, such as utilities, are also popular. Stored-value cards, used for train and bus fares, will also be accepted by some vending machines and at kiosks. Cash and credit cards are both used. However, small restaurants and shops often do not accept credit cards. In addition, paper checks are not used.
Will I be able to use my credit card around town? If not, list when I’ll need cash.
Always carry cash. You will use it for transportation, local shops and medical facilities. Credit card use is increasing: department stores and some restaurants accept credit cards. It is recommended that upon moving to Japan, you apply for a credit card from a bank in Japan (such as Citibank).
By what method are bills (such as rent and utilities) paid?
Direct debit bank transfers are often used. Utility bills can also be paid at convenience stores such as 7-11 and Lawson.
What are the requirements for opening a bank account? At what stage of the settling-in process should I open it?
Only legal residents (not short-term visa holders) can open a bank account. A home address (not hotel) and Alien registration card are also required. Citibank, HSBC or Shinsei bank are popular among foreigners.
Will foreign residents be able to find banking services in their native languages?
Yes and no. Citibank, HSBC, Shinsei, UFJ Mitsubishi and Mitsui-Sumitomo banks all have English-speaking staff available in central Tokyo, and staff may be available in Yokohama as well.
However, not all branches have English-speaking staff.
Are there any restrictions on services for those who are new to your country?
There are no checking accounts. Non-Japanese bank cards without “Plus” and other endorsements are not accepted at most ATMs.
What are typical banking hours?
Weekdays, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Please check the bank websites. (Some Citibank, HSBC or Shinsei bank branches have after-hours banking.) After these hours, you can use ATM machines at banks or convenience stores.
Are automatic teller machines (ATMs) available around the clock?
Convenience store ATMs are available; not all bank ATMs are available 24 hours a day.
Is there any other money information that might help me?
Always carry cash in Japan. Stored-value cards (Suica & Pasmo) are popular for kiosk and some restaurant transactions, but not universally accepted (except for train fares). Convenience stores have banking facilities (conditions vary, not all foreign bank or credit cards are accepted, but a surprising number are).
Crown Relocations has made every effort to present accurate information. However, regulations, rates and other variables are subject to change and Crown Relocations cannot accept responsibility for the errors that might result. Should you have any questions or need additional information, please contact your local Crown representative.